Unit 4: Now What? Promoting on Social Media


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A terrible thing happens without publicity... NOTHING. - Master showman PT Barnum

Publicity is the art of stirring up interest. It's convincing others to blare from the rooftops:

* Who you are

* What do you do

* Why it's important

THINK: As social workers, how can we use the media to raise awareness about issues of social justice?

Why Social Media?

You have created a great piece (podcast, article, blog, etc). Now what? Anyone can create a podcast or a blog, yet knowing how to market that piece so the public is aware involves a whole new skill set. Think about recent issues that have taken off via social media.

A few examples

  • #BlackLivesMatter
  • ALS - Ice Bucket Challenge
  • WikiLeakes
  • Japan 2011 Earthquake Relief Fund
  • 2011 London Riots
  • 2010 Haiti Earthquake
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • 2015 Nepal Earthquake

As social workers, we need to Be the Media and Engage the Media. We need to be able to get our message out about our topics with the goal to Inform, Persuade, and Move to Action'

Social Media and Advocacy


Here are the activities that we do when we are carrying out advocacy.

Differences between social media and media:

Social Media:

  • Two-way conversation
  • Open system
  • Transparent
  • One-on-one marketing
  • Brand and User-generated Content
  • Authentic content
  • FREE platform
  • Metric: Engagement
  • Community decision-making
  • Unstructured communication
  • Real time creation
  • Bottom-up strategy
  • Informal language
  • Active involvement

Traditional Media:

  • One-way conversation
  • Closed system
  • Opaque
  • Mass marketing
  • Professional content
  • Polished content
  • Paid platform
  • Metric: Reach/ frequency
  • Economic decision-making
  • Controlled communication
  • Pre-produced/ scheduled
  • Top-down strategy
  • Formal language
  • Passive involvement

Here is a student example. MSW student Rebecca was lobbing for a new bill. She took to the media and created this short segment that was aired on live radio. Rebecca was also featured in the local newspaper and is now speaking at events regarding her bill proposal. Notice how Rebecca incorporates many of the elements discussed - background on the topic, personal/compelling story, why support is needed, and what can others do to help.

(Link removed)

When there are hot topic issues, speak up if this is your area of interest. Call local news outlets, share your content. If you are an expert in an area, market yourself so that you can reach a larger audience and share your knowledge.

Another useful tool is understanding search engine optimization (having your work appear on search engines)SEO

Social Media and 21st Century Social Work

This podcasts from the University at Buffalo discusses how current and emerging social media expands social work career choices and practice. Dorlee Michaeli: How Social Media Expands Social Work Career Choices


Link to the Discussion tab at the top left hand side of the page to participate in the learning activity.

Discuss with participants your possible strategy to promote your podcast. Think of your promotional content and how, when, and where you will share it. Will you have different strategies to meet multiple audiences? Use this discussion to brainstorm with others.

To Do

In Module 3, you each signed up to review a podcast of someone in the class. In this Module, review the podcast and post send feedback to the individual student via e-mail. Please Cc the Instructor as well.


Proceed to Unit 5 Unit_5:_Helping_Others_Tell_Their_Story:_Digital_Media_with_Clients

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